Are you looking for a new place to live? Perhaps you’re thinking of downsizing to a smaller house or you want to upgrade to a nicer apartment. Whatever the reason, relocating to a new place to live can be challenging for motorized wheelchair users. We can help! Read on for some helpful information, as well as specific tips from our Quantum® brand ambassadors on relocating or finding a home that is the perfect for people with disabilities.
Searching for an Accessible Home
Before you can begin your search, ask yourself some important questions. How accessible does your new place need to be? Do you require an open floor plan? How wide is your motorized chair? Do you need a roll-in shower and handlebars? The most important thing to remember: just because a listing says the home or apartment is ADA accessible, doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for your power chair. The term “accessible” is sometimes vague. Always make an appointment to visit your prospective new digs before signing any paperwork.
Searching for a place to live can be exhausting, so we recommend hiring a realtor. In fact, you can hire several realtors, which is what Josh McDermott recommends, since they work for commission. Josh shares that it’s important to find a realtor that listens to you and understands your needs and what you are looking for in an accessible house, condo or apartment. Meet with them, show them your motorized wheelchair. This helps them when they search listings for you.
Accessibility with a Narrow Wheelchair
If you own a narrow wheelchair such as the Edge 3 Stretto®, you may have more leeway when it comes to the definition of accessible. Older homes have beautiful character. They also tend to have smaller rooms and tighter spaces, which can make maneuvering a power chair more challenging. When it comes to wheelchairs for narrow doorways, nothing beats the Stretto! With an overall width of just 20.47 inches, the Stretto allows you to smoothly drive through narrow doorways or around tight corners. So, if you have a Stretto and love the idea of living in an older house, let your realtor know.
Features to Look for in an Accessible Home
If you live in the city like Jesse Cuellar, you understand the struggle of finding parking for your accessible vehicle. If having your own parking spot is extremely important to you, it’s a good idea to look for homes or apartments that are close to accessible parking or have private parking. It saves time and money in the long run. Be sure that the parking space is wide enough for you to raise and lower your wheelchair ramp. If you don’t have a vehicle, Jesse also suggests finding an accessible home that is close to public transit, such as a bus or subway stop.
Here are a few other features you should look for when searching for an accessible home. Always check the placements of sinks, stoves and cabinets. Can you reach them? Some individuals with disabilities may just choose not to use cabinets that are higher up. If you have iLevel® technology, you may have more flexibility because you can raise the seat of your power chair up to 12 inches to reach cabinets, light switches and items inside the refrigerator.
Good luck with your search. Keep all of these things in mind and don’t stress. You’ll be relaxing in your new place before you know it!